Breakthru is Coining “Opportunity Driven Marketing”, and Here's Why

August 2, 2022
Published by
Payten Jackson

What will the future of student acquisition and recruitment look like?

We’re willing to bet it doesn’t involve scrolling mind-numbing job boards, tapping through lifeless paid ads or lackluster conversations with Recruiters.

Why? You might be surprised to learn that Gen Z holds a higher bar for the authenticity of an interaction than Millennials, and honestly, it’s quite refreshing.

As of today, we have onboarded more than 70K diverse students onto our application. Students come to us for accessible financial, education, and career opportunities as a way to build a future without feeling overwhelmed, or unwelcomed. Instead, they feel empowered.

Last year, our student-base was quickly growing through collaboration with TikToker’s, Professional Athletes, Celebrities, and partnerships with mission-driven organizations. Young people were eagerly jumping on what we call, “Opportunities” in the App. At that time, our Opportunities were manually onboarded through a service-driven approach, but increasing student demand required a tech solution.

So we built Breakthru for Companies

Over the past year, we have learned a lot about what students REALLY want, and how despite their best efforts, most companies are actually missing the mark. Our main takeaway? When it comes to communication, today’s students are speaking a totally different language than companies trying to engage with them, mis-managing collectively 200 billion dollars on marketing, and recruiting efforts every single year.

Allow us to translate.

When we built our Breakthru for Companies, we set out with three questions in mind:

  1. Are underserved students missing out on opportunities they aren’t able to access through gate-keepers?
  2. How much do students really care about building a relationship with a brand before they apply or buy?
  3. Where are businesses struggling in their own recruitment efforts?

Here’s what we learned:

Not ALL students are where you think they are.

Our Sales team has taken more than 200 calls as a way to learn from companies seeking student engagement under the acquisition/recruitment umbrella. Of these calls, a handful of the companies understood that they were speaking to a new era of students. Everyone else? They were stuck on an expensive strategy of “Copy and paste” from the Boomer (authored), Millennial (edited) playbook.

Old habits die hard, and the student intelligence (aka data) we’ve collected through Opportunity-Driven Marketing (engagement) tells us that students aren’t where you think they are in more than one category.

  • Financially: You can no longer assume a young person will open an account at an institution because that's where their parents bank. Students think differently about Finance when it comes to student loans, tuition, and monetary security. Side note *It's true, the Crypto economy is here, and Gen Z will be the first generation native to its capabilities for financial democratization, so don’t make any assumptions about this group's interest in DeFi.*

  • Professionally: We are seeing a trend in high-school students seeking Internship/Job opportunities earlier in their student career. Alternatively, many high-school students are passing on College and choosing to go directly into a field of interest to them without the tuition debt.

  • Personally: Diverse students aren’t a box to check when it comes to corporate DEI&B efforts, and they don’t appreciate being tokenized. Breakthru Students want to talk to companies that hire for diversity as an added value, rather than a to-do.

Being “connected” means more to today’s youth than the click of a button.

When it comes to students, you get what you give.

If you think posting a Scholarship, Internship, or Job on a popular search engine will help you make quality hires, think again. The old days of job boards are dying, and forget about a paid Facebook ad - Gen Z blindly tap through those with their remarkable ability to sniff out an empty translation a mile away.

Research from Deloitte shows that on average, companies spend around $4,000 on the hiring process, which we believe is an unnecessary expense that could be saved, or better spent elsewhere if companies chose a new approach to recruiting. Like any relationship, if you give students minimal effort, you’ll get minimal effort. With that said, we learned that many companies might not have the bandwidth or people power necessary to develop some type of master plan that can generate high-quality leads.

So what's the solution?

So far, we think it’s a future where brands reward students for their time and effort.

How? Meet Learn to Earn.

After months of testing, our Badging program launches this month, proving that when incentived, students aren’t “lazier” than the generations before them, they're actually smarter.

Learn to Earn says,

“Hey Israh, it seems like you might be interested in working for [X], why don’t we share a little bit about us with you so you can better understand our brand tone, vision and culture first.”

Rather than,

“Israh, if you want to work for [X] submit the same resume and cover letter you already submitted to 27 other jobs you just found on your school sponsored job board without reading anything about us or our values because we also don't care about building a relationship prior to hire.”

Our research shows that when students between 13-24 are being bombarded with information, they will not only choose the former, but they will also gladly act as a sort of “Ambassador” for your brand's effort even if they do not continue onto the early acquisition/recruiting process.

Going deep rather than wide is better for business.

When we look at the products and paths that exist in the Student-Tech industry, we have to admit, few technology solutions are actually built for the needs of students, and rather, the needs of an old industry that somehow sustains itself on meaningless impression metrics. Breakthru is building a digital world where students are no longer left out as a result of their socio-economic background, and rather, advancing quicker through technology supported exchanges that help create financial inclusion.

Truth be told, students have been accommodating what are now archaic ways of building professional relationships for a while now, and it’s time we start rewarding them for their patience with us. It's free for your company to join Breakthru today.

About the Author: Payten Jackson is the Senior Growth Manager at Breakthru. She is a fan of Duo Lingo and passionate about building technology for good.

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